What it means to be focused: Follow ONE course until success, and remain distraction free in the process.
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What it means to be focused
Being focused is one of the most difficult challenges we face as entrepreneurs, especially today with an infinite number of notifications, distractions and all those shiny objects we just love to chase.
Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends entirely upon you, your goals, and your determination to use every available minute. ~ Zig Ziglar
How do you do this?
Learn to hold yourself accountable.
Now that you have my plan for productivity and my plan for discipline, let’s create one for FOCUS.
A plan for focus
Since we’ve already mastered removing distractions with our plan for discipline, we’ve eliminated half of what can break our focus – these are things specifically related to our work environment.
With our plan for focus, we’re going to take it one step further and work on removing distractions that we create ourselves.
Creating a plan for focus will help you hold yourself accountable and prevent you from getting in your own way.
Step 1: Stop getting in your own way
Set a timer for 15 minutes and start writing out the things that distract you that aren’t related to your work environment (remember, we already covered those distractions in our plan for discipline).
Your list might include things like:
- Shiny objects / ideas I feel I have to take action on NOW;
- Notifications and pop up reminders on my computer and/or phone;
- Remembering other things I have to do and not wanting to forget them;
- Anything that sounds like more fun than what I’m actually supposed to be doing.
Any of these things sound familiar?
Here’s the thing: we’re pretty darn good at getting in our own way, even when we may not realize we’re getting in our own way.
A key step to becoming more focused is being able to catch yourself when you’re doing it, and the step that comes before you’re able to do that: admitting that you’re doing it.
Before we move on to Step 2, set another timer for 5 minutes, and come to terms with the fact that you get in your own way more often than you think. Admit it, and commit to recognizing and calling yourself out for it when it happens moving forward.
Step 2: It’s time to time
This might be my favorite step out of the all the steps in all of the plans I’ve shared with you, because it’s the easiest AND it produces the BIGGEST results. In fact, I’ve been asking you to practice it throughout the steps we’ve covered in all of our plans.
Remember me talking about those tangible results when it comes to being more productive? Results you can actually SEE?
This is how you produce those results: using the Pomodoro Technique.
The next time you start working on a task or project (this will be a task or project from your plan for productivity: one that matters to you and your business and that you’ve written out so you know what to work on first), set a 30 minute timer.
Before you press start on your timer, make sure you have a piece of paper and a pen next to you (or some sort of note-taking tools – sticky notes, a journal, etc).
Once you press start on your timer, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – let anything break your focus. These 30 minutes represent your “Focus Time”.
Remember all the things you listed out when brainstorming the things that distract you (how you get in your own way)?
When one of those things comes up – and I can pretty much guarantee you, they will come up – write it down on your piece of paper and immediately get back on task.
Being able to write things down will clear the distraction from your mind and help you to continue focusing on what’s most important right now: whatever task or project you’re working on.
Once your Focus Time is up, you’ll get a well-deserved block of “Refresh Time”. This might be 10 or 15 minutes where you can look back at your notes, get on social media, grab a bite to eat, or whatever else helps you refresh.
Your Refresh Time should also be actually timed.
Step 3: Practice
Don’t beat yourself up over distractions and getting in your own way – at least not in the beginning.
Focus is something you must practice in order to master it.
As you practice, try out different Focus Time blocks – maybe 30 minutes wasn’t long enough for you, and you feel you could focus for 45 minutes at a time.
Or maybe 30 minutes was too long, and your Focus Time needs to be more like 20 minutes.
Constantly be working to improve.
Increase your Focus Time by 1 minute every single day, and decrease your Refresh Time accordingly.
Start to learn how to work with your phone on silent, then with your phone in airplane mode, and eventually with your phone in another room.
Begin to put systems in place and use software that will help you remember the ideas and other important things that come up throughout the day so you don’t rely on pop up notifications for peace of mind.
Try your “Session” (which equals your Focus Time and your Refresh Time) once per day.
Within a couple of days, maybe you’ll be ready for two Sessions.
Within a week, you can work up to having three Sessions per day.
You can do this, and the results you’ll see once you start implementing these Sessions throughout your day to help you FOCUS on your one task or project will prove it.
Once you start gaining momentum when it comes to productivity, you won’t want to stop.
Plans for productivity, discipline and focus
Do you see how everything we’re putting in place with our plans for productivity, discipline and focus lend a hand in helping us master these 3 skills?
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. ~ Vince Lombardi
Mastering these 3 skills is your ticket to success.
Mastering these 3 skills represent you accomplishing your biggest goals.
Mastering these 3 skills WILL change your life.
It’s time to commit to mastering each and every one of them.
The Mastery Journal
If you’re ready to start ending every day feeling accomplished, then head over to TheMasteryJournal.com for your own physical copy of The Mastery Journal.
The Mastery Journal is your daily guide to mastering productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days.